The histories of five great purses I have owned
I can't tell you how many purses I've had in 55 years. I think the number might be more than 2 dozen but less than 55. Or maybe not. I just can't estimate. Anyway, here are five I remember fondly.
- A square wooden box that looked like a miniature picket fence, with bright green flower-print cloth above and two circular handles. It was a cute, unique purse of the early 70's. The one bad thing about it was that the wooden part tended to snag nylon stockings. Keely played with this little box purse when she was little, and I think she still has it.
- A pearl-beaded envelope clutch. I bought it for some formal event when I was in my early 20's. It served me faithfully for many years and I had many compliments on it. Unfortunately, I decided to hand-wash it a few years ago. The stain in the lining that I wanted to remove is still there, and the innards of the purse were terribly weakened in the water. It must have had some kind of cardboard in it.
- A "man-purse" I bought in Bolivia. It was the smallest purse I ever owned. All the Bolivian guys carried them. It was larger than a wallet, but much smaller than most women's purses. It was leather, and it had a wrist strap. If I couldn't close it, I knew I had too much in it. It died when its main snap stopped working. I still have it somewhere, unless I purged it in a clutter-control attack.
- A handmade leather patchwork purse. It was another of the purses I bought in Bolivia. At the market in La Paz, someone sliced into it with a razor in a pickpocket attempt. (They did this sort of thing there; you had to be on guard constantly in crowds.) The seams of the patchwork were too tough for them, and they didn't get into the bag. I took it back to the shop where it was made, and they were horrified but proud the purse had resisted the attempt. They removed the cut patches and replaced them, and the purse was good as new.
- A huge alligator-skin bag I had when the kids were little. I bought it at the Army Post Exchange (PX) in Berlin, Germany. It had been priced at $125, but I paid about $20 for it on clearance. Did I mention that it was huge? It was long and deep with two short shoulder straps, and it fit nicely under my arm. It held everything I needed and everything the kids needed too -- books, toys, diapers, and more. I never carried a diaper bag.